12.30.2010

Affect is Knowledge

Just for the goof, today, read the entire world from the perspective of affective resonance. Put aside normative structures, put aside the so-called literal meanings of words and look, actually look at what's happening. There is an elaborate invisible architecture, an invisible calculus of affective collision.

6 comments:

what the Tee Vee taught said...

I recall a moment — one I thoroughly enjoyed — when you described your desire to exchange good things with your friends and neighbors... I don't exactly recall the context, it might have accompanied a comment lamenting the inanity of opting for the corporatized cookie-cutter product (starbucks and the like) over something more variable and local. Anyway, who cares where you said it, just know: this is good. A warmth, something beautiful, pervades your movement. That, to my senses, is your affective resonance.

Daniel Coffeen said...

Oh, you're kind. Now tell me ex-wife.

That said, I do very much like the conversations that spring up on this here blog — which, to me, is the main point of a blog. So thanks.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

When small typos lead to fun, I love it. I'm hearing you say "tell me ex-wife" in a thick, RRR-laden pirate voice.

That people fall in and out of a weird visceral love... reminds me just how vast the possibilities of this life really are. It's all wide fucking open.

J.S. Butcher said...

I am almost at a place of understanding with your concept of these invisible affective forces, and I can already see the practicality of living in this kind of perspective. I think your ideas are wonderful, but sometimes I get lost in your language. You often play like Derrida. Nothing wrong with this of course, but I'm on the edge of my seat, feeling the possibility of learning and developing a new way of seeing the world and I just want to get it.

Can you give me an example of some way I would be able to detect these invisible forces? How do they manifest themselves in the world? Are they mere mood? It seems like you're saying that the protocols and standards of our everyday interactions obscure these affective states. Do you think this is intentional? Maybe a protection mechanism? A mask?

Daniel Coffeen said...

@JS: I don't mean to be cryptic; it's the effect of thinking alone.....

So, I think you know what I'm talking about. The most obvious case, one I mention often, is when a lover says, "Fine!" and is anything but.

This tidbit of information that you take for granted — of course she's not fine; you know by her tone — is one moment within a flood of invisible information that comes from everyone, everything, every place. Tone abounds; the world is toned. One must tune into the tones (sorry, can't resist alliteration).

Often, it's not that interesting — does it really matter which fork you use? But sometimes it's of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to people and places. Certain places — for a complex set of reasons — are conducive to this or that; are powerful, seething places (the ocean at sunrise, for ex); are ugly, mean spirited places; and so on with infinite nuance and variation.

So, yes, mood. But "mood" can sound too smooth, too simple, too univocal. Affect is more complex, less articulate but more articulated.

And, yes, our culture works against grasping affect, making sense of the invisible because affect is not quantifiable: it is quality. And we live in the time and place of the virus and its will to quantification. Affect is too slow, too strange, too blurry for most.

Spend your day reading nothing but affect — of everything. Yourself, your room, your shower, your breakfast, the street, strangers, trees, friends, co-workers. Try not listening to their words but listening to everything else — the swirl and eddies and flows of affect streaming in and around them.

Suddenly, the world is brimming with information.

J.S. Butcher said...

I've been working through this idea of affect, and I've tried to consolidate my thoughts into a video post here. Sorry if its a bit long and stuttery.